Tuesday, February 15, 2011

EEOC to Examine Treatment of Unemployed Job Seekers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") will be holding a public meeting Wednesday, February 16, at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern Time), at agency headquarters, 131 M Street, N.E. to examine the practice by employers of excluding currently unemployed persons from applicant pools, including in job announcements, the Commission will hear from invited panelists on the potential impact on job seekers.

From the press release on the meeting:

The meeting agenda includes:

Panel 1: U.S. Department of Labor’s Latest Unemployment Data

•William E. Spriggs, Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Labor
Panel 2: Unemployment Status Screening

•Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project (NELP)
•Fernan R. Cepero, Vice President for Human Resources, The YMCA of Greater Rochester, representing SHRM
•Amy Dias, Partner, Jones Day
•Helen Norton, Professor, University of Colorado Law School
Panel 3: Impact on Unemployed Persons

•Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment, National Women’s Law Center
•Algernon Austin, Director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy Program, Economic Policy Institute
•Joyce Bender, CEO, Bender Consulting Services
A brief question-and-answer session with EEOC Commissioners will follow each panel discussion.

Seating is limited and it is suggested that visitors arrive 30 minutes before the meeting in order to be processed through security and escorted to the meeting room.

The Commission agenda is subject to revision. Additional information about the hearing, when available, will be posted at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/index.cfm.


The issue of employers discriminating against the unemployed came to the fore in recent months as many job postings were requiring that applicants be currently employed or otherwise explicitly telling unemployed individuals not to apply. However, just as with credit history discrimination which is also not protected under any federal statute and most state statutes, it may be shown that such policies have a disparate impact on minorities as they may be more likely to be affected by such application policies.

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